by Paul Bacon
“I’d love to write great literature,” pined novelist John Grisham in a magazine interview. Being that he quit his lawyer job more than 10 years ago, you’d think he would have found time to at least try by now. Grisham’s body of work, which includes The Partner, The Firm, The Client, and The Chamber, suggests that when he needs an idea for a new novel, he simply dusts off some old briefs and titles the book after the first word he sees. So what’s next from America’s favorite lawyer-turned-writing machine? We dusted off our own file of pending libel lawsuits to fabricate some uncanny predictions.
THE FAX NUMBER - A gifted child trying to escape the tyranny of his abusive, workaholic mom accidentally dials a fax number used by an Asian mob dealing in slave labor. His call comes in at exactly the time that they are expecting a fax about a new shipment of mail-order “brides” headed for Brunei from the Philippines. The gangsters have caller ID, so they hunt him down and almost kill him before he’s saved by whatever movie star may be appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair when the story is optioned to Warner Bros. And that’s just the first chapter!
THE RETAINER - Like so many rock bands and cheeky magazines nowadays, Grisham will use the double-entendre to inject an extra dose of oomph into his otherwise listless title base. The Retainer will take readers on a roller-coaster ride through the dental insurance industry as millions of innocent, snaggle-toothed teenagers are unfairly denied coverage for simple orthodontia. The heroine of the book, a selfless public defender from Tennessee still working off her student loans, agrees to work for a nominal fee to expose the evil, cigar-chompin’ ol’ boys in health care.
THE THE - Having exhausted every noun in the English language, and being fundamentally opposed to using verbs or adjectives in his book titles, Grisham will retire after writing an 800-page opus about the use of the definite pronoun. In The The, an upstanding Southern barrister notices the term “a cause of death” has been surreptitiously switched to “the cause of death” in a key legal document, thus finding a loophole that frees a Methodist preacher unjustly accused of murdering the entire population of Macon, Georgia. # # #